Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (consul 215 BC)

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Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
Died212 BC
Cause of deathKilled in ambush
Occupation(s)Politician and soldier
RelativesPublius Sempronius Gracchus
Military career
Rank Magister equitum, consul, proconsul
Wars Second Punic War

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (died 212 BC [1] ) was a Roman republican consul in the Second Punic War. He was son of the Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who was consul in 238 BC, [2] who was apparently the first man from his branch of the family to become a consul.[ citation needed ]


Political career

Gracchus is first mentioned in 216 BC as a curule aedile; [3] he was made magister equitum in the dictatorship of Marcus Junius Pera after the defeat at Cannae. [4]

He was elected consul to serve for 215 BC, at the recommendation of the dictator whose orders he had faithfully obeyed even when obliged to abandon Italian allies to their fate.[ citation needed ] His colleague-elect Lucius Postumius Albinus was killed in an ambush in Gaul on his way home. [5] Marcus Claudius Marcellus was elected suffect consul, but his election was declared invalid by the augurs, who forced him to resign. [6] The invalidity was supposedly the result of patrician agitation, claiming that two plebeians could not serve as consuls together.[ citation needed ] Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus was then elected suffect consul to serve out the year. [6] During his consulship, Gracchus raised forces and took his forces to garrison Campania and the city of Cumae after conducting the elections for both suffect consuls. [7]

During his first consulship, Fabius and the senate decided to enlist slave volunteers into the Roman army in separate legions in return for their freedom. Gracchus was appointed commander of the slave troops. He rapidly became known as an effective general of the volunteer slaves, winning their loyalty and trust for his clemency when some broke and ran from the field.[ citation needed ]

He was prorogued pro consule into 214 BC, [8] continuing to lead his slave and freedmen troops. His slave forces captured Cumae and Philip V of Macedon's envoys to Hannibal. After preventing Hanno (Hannibal's nephew) from reinforcing Hannibal's forces in Italy, the slaves were freed for their services. [2]

He was re-elected consul for 213 BC. [9] During his consulship, he appointed Gaius Claudius Centho as dictator to oversee consular elections and commanded near Luceria in northern Italy. [10] In the next year, when he was bringing troops to reinforce Capua, he and his men were ambushed and killed: [1] a Roman ally defected while leading Gracchus to a place where the Carthaginian commander Mago Barca was waiting in ambush. [11] Hannibal gave the dead general full funeral rites and returned his bones to his soldiers for burial. [12]


His wife is unknown, but he had at least one son. This Gracchus's son, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, became a priest in 203 BC and died, while an augur, in the plague in 174 BC.[ citation needed ] His brother Publius Sempronius Gracchus was the father of the Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who was consul in 177 BC,[ citation needed ] whose sons Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus were the famous reformers.

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  1. 1 2 Broughton 1951, p. 269.
  2. 1 2 Badian 2012, p. 1344.
  3. Broughton 1951, p. 249.
  4. Broughton 1951, p. 248.
  5. Broughton 1951, p. 253.
  6. 1 2 Broughton 1951, p. 254.
  7. Broughton 1951, pp. 253–54.
  8. Broughton 1951, p. 260.
  9. Broughton 1951, p. 262.
  10. Broughton 1951, pp. 262–63.
  11. Val. Max., 1.6.8.
  12. Val. Max., 5.1, ext 6.
Political offices
Preceded by Roman consul
215 BC
with Lucius Postumius Albinus
Succeeded by
Preceded by Roman consul
213 BC
with Quintus Fabius Maximus
Succeeded by